Skin-to-Skin Contact: A New-Old Practice
Skin-to-Skin Contact: A New-Old Practice
Yes, I’m a photographer. I’m also a mom. I’m 100% intrigued by the beauty of birth and the intensity of the moments after birth and by moments, I really mean the first few months. During our newborn sessions, I love the skin-to-skin contact and interaction between mom, dad and baby. I don’t think there is anything I love to capture more. Beyond gorgeous photographs, there are so many benefits of sharing that skin-to-skin contact. I feel so passionately about it, I thought I would share a few of them here. So, when you come in for your newborn session and we do the skin-to-skin shots this is a list of what is REALLY happening while I’m taking your images!
The postpartum period for mom and baby can be quite a transition. Postpartum is most often defined as the first three months of baby’s life. Baby has just been thrust from the womb into an unknown world of light and chaotic sound. Mom has just labored for hours, often painfully to bring baby into the world. Hormonal changes are happening for both mom and baby and this seemingly new practice of skin-to-skin can benefit both mom and baby greatly.
Skin-to-skin contact is typically described as the newborn naked with at most a diaper and dry cap on against mom or (in instances when mom has not been stabilized) dad’s bare chest and a warm blanket over newborn’s back to keep mom/dad and baby warm.
Here is a list of some of the benefits of skin-to-skin:
Reduced stress and lowered risk of postpartum. Several studies have suggested that skin-to-skin reduce stress hormones in mom and baby, including lowering the risks of postpartum. “A large number of mothers experience postpartum depressive symptoms, which can affect both the mother and the infant. In preterm infants, daily skin-to-skin contact (SSC) between the mother and her infant has been shown to decrease maternal postpartum depressive symptoms. In full-term infants, only two studies investigated the effectiveness of SSC on maternal postpartum depressive symptoms and found similar results. Studies in preterm infants showed that SSC improves other mental and physical health outcomes in mothers as well as the infants, and promotes the quality of mother-infant relationship.” Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5501342/
Establishes breast feeding success. “An essential practice for safe and healthy birth is to keep mothers and babies together and ensure unlimited opportunities for skin-to-skin care and breastfeeding. Mothers and babies have a physiologic need to be together during the moments, hours, and days following birth, and this time together significantly improves maternal and newborn outcomes. Childbirth educators and other health-care professionals have a responsibility to support this physiologic need through education, advocacy, and implementation of evidence-based maternity practices. Routine separation of healthy mothers and babies can be harmful and can negatively influence short- and long-term health outcomes and breastfeeding success.” Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4235060/ Check out this article on the magical hour! Super informative piece about the hour after baby is born and the 9 Step Process all babies go through leading up to suckling and finally sleep. http://www.magicalhour.org/aboutus.html
Solidifies maternal & paternal bonding. Sometimes we can overlook the obvious. As a newborn photographer, when I see mom and baby skin-to-skin or dad and baby skin-to-skin, my heart just leaps out of my chest and I am moved to tears by the beauty of it. I think we all feel that way! What is more beautiful that a tattooed covered, muscleman holding a tiny sweet newborn against his chest? Or a new mama with a babe on her breast? Nothing. I contend, nothing. It’s beautiful likely because it’s so right! Listen to what this husband and wife medical team have to say about skin-to-skin…”’What does the baby most need at the moment of birth? Only mother,’ said Bergman and Bergman (2013, p. 9), a respected husband (public health physician) and wife (teacher/doula/author) team who have studied the effects of skin-to-skin care.” Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4235060/
Benefits to baby’s brain development. According to a study in an article by Psychology Today, perinatal researchers led by Nathalie Maitre discovered that, “a baby's earliest experiences of being touched shape the somatosensory brain scaffolding linked to cognitive, perceptual, and social development. The researchers conclude that soothing and comforting physical human contact improves neurodevelopment outcomes,…” Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201703/more-proof-skin-skin-contact-benefits-babies-brains
Oxytocin release. Skin-to-Skin Contact releases Oxytocin. “The two main target organs for oxytocin's physiologic effects are the lactating breast and the uterus. Skin-to-skin contact should be started during the first minute after birth and throughout the third stage of labor, to produce elevated levels of oxytocin aiding in the separation and expulsion of the placenta.” and breastfeeding. Source: http://www.imedpub.com/articles/the-effect-of-mother-and-newborn-early-skintoskin-contact-on-the-duration-of-separation-and-expulsion-of-the-placenta.pdf
All in all, I just want mom’s & dad’s to know how perfect you look holding your little miracles against your skin! If you’re interested in our newborn photography, please check out our newborn page and fill out the contact sheet. We would love to tell your brand new love story!
To book a newborn consultation for a session click here.